And though I look forward to ongoing lessons as the Holy Spirit continues to teach me wherever I am around the globe, I expect I'll really miss this place where I feel Him at work. In light of that, here are three of my "takeaways."
As a volunteer at Torchbearers Yamanakako, I spent hours washing dishes, folding laundry, caring for children, organizing boxes of supplies and performing general cleaning tasks. I learned that the order in which I tackle my to-do list can directly affect my efficiency. If I clean the countertops and microwave before sweeping, I won't have to sweep twice. I also learned that heat removes grease. Boiling water is therefore more faithful to remove oil stains from dishes than a good scrub with just-warm water.
People are complex
As part of my staff training, I took Love Language and Communication Style mini tests. The former is designed to show the testee which of five ways he or she tends to express and receive love. The latter helps us know whether we are primarily task-, process-, people- or ideas-oriented in our approach to life.
Taking these tests and viewing the other staff members' results opened my eyes to how different each person is to the next. A better way to put it would be that God made each of us so uniquely. He is so endlessly creative.
Hand-in-hand with this, I learned that to be a source of encouragement to members of a community isn't as simple as doing for them what I want them to do for me (though I believe that's a fantastic start!). It's about learning to know them-- to really know them. What makes them smile? How do they uniquely feel loved?
This has been a key word to me since the new year. Google defines it as "the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally."
I don't want to be attacked or harmed so I try to cover up every possibility. I try to create a picture-perfect image of myself to hide inside. But as children of God, He wants us to "walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Since light exposes, part of that means being vulnerable. It's scary and sometimes painful, but I believe it's also a beautiful part of God's design. It showcases His power to transform lives, it purges "unfruitful works of darkness" from us, it enables genuine love and fellowship with other believers and with God, and it allows us to practice truth.
That concludes my list of three. I hope you benefit from these takeaways as much as I did.
~Jordy Thériault, Torchbearers Yamanakako Staff Member